How to visit Rainbow Mountain?
It is also known as Rainbow Mountain (Cerro Colorado or Montaña de los Siete Colores), Its real name is Vinicunca, from the Quechua “wini”, which means stones, and “kunka”, which means neck, referring to the particular shape its summit.
Previously it was necessary to do the Ausangate Trek in the Cordillera de Vilcanota to get there, but thanks to its growing popularity, today we offer this tour with options of Full-Day Rainbow Mountain Tour or 2 days from Cusco directly to Vinicunca.
Over time, it has become an essential destination in Peru, almost like Machu Picchu .
Here I will show you this complete guide so that you can organize your trip with all the information and practical advice to visit the Vinicunca Mountain, how to get there, and which tour to choose.
What to know before you go
To fully enjoy your trip to Rainbow Mountain you must follow these recommendations.
How to take care of altitude sickness
Cusco is at an altitude of 3,399 meters, which is already a considerable height, but the Rainbow Mountain reaches up to 5,000 meters!
From an altitude of 2,300 meters, you can feel altitude sickness, so it is important to understand what it is and be prepared for it.
At altitude, the body suffers from a lack of oxygen, which results in nausea, headache and fatigue.
In very rare cases, it can cause cerebral or pulmonary edema, for this reason, if you suffer from any illness you should consult us before making your trip
Not everyone gets altitude sickness in the same way (some feel little or nothing, but others, like me, suffer quite a bit). If you arrive in Cusco by plane, it is very likely that your body will suffer more than if you had gradually climbed on a bus.
On your first day, it is necessary to acclimatize correctly and avoid any physical effort.
If you want to visit the rainbow mountain, it is important that you do it on the 3rd or 4th day to avoid feeling altitude sickness and enjoy your trip.
It will help you drink plenty of fluids, rest and eat light meals.
The photographs vs the reality of the Rainbow Mountain Peru
You have to be realistic and not trust what you see on Instagram or in promotional brochures.
If the weather conditions are good, indeed, the colors of the Rainbow Mountain are more contrasted, but they are never as saturated as is usually seen in the images that sometimes intensify them with colors.
On rainy days sometimes it is not possible to see the colors of the Mountain in all its splendor.
Plan your schedule to visit the Rainbow Mountain Peru Tour
Normally the excursions start at 3 am If you have little time in Cusco, you should quickly reserve your place for the next day.
If you want to travel more calmly, we recommend our 2-day tour to the mountain of colors, you can avoid fatigue with this option, by spending the night in Cusipata
How to get to Vinicunca
Full-Day Rainbow Mountain Tour
Considering the distance from Cusco and the climb to the mountain, the tour lasts all day.
Here is a typical day:
- Departure from the hotel in Cusco at 3 am (advisable to wake up at 2 am)
- Arrive in Chilca around 7:30 am. This is the starting point of the Trek to Vinicunca
- 4 km ascent, about 4 hours
- Descent of about 2 hours
- Arrive in Cusco around 6:00 p.m.
Important: If you will not spend much time in Cusco , reserve your place for the next day as quickly as possible.
Our Rainbow Mountain tour has everything you need this tour to the Rainbow Mountain Peru which includes:
- Pick up from your hotel
- Guide in Spanish and English
- First aid kit and oxygen
- breakfast and lunch
- walking sticks
- End of the tour with a visit to Plaza Regocijo in the heart of Cusco
Rainbow Mountain in group service:
2-day trek to the Rainbow Mountain
Our best option is the 2 days – 1-night tour (in a hotel in Cusipata) to visit Rainbow Mountain and its surroundings, which allows you to do the tour more calmly, making the most of the landscapes and walking through the small towns.
The itinerary varies according to the agency, so you must choose yourself.
How much does the excursion to the Rainbow Mountain cost?
The price varies according to the services (if it includes food or not, snacks, horses, etc.) and, above all, if it is a private or group tour.
The excursion with a private guide costs between 150 and 250 US dollars. In a group (and not small groups) the price can reach 30 or 40 US dollars.
For Sullpayky Experiences our reputation is important, you can review our Tripadvisor profile and book with confidence.
Because Vinicunca has become very popular in recent years, new mass tourism has emerged – not necessarily well organized – and many agencies began to operate without much preparation.
Important: it is always tempting to save a little money, but unless an agency has been recommended to you, remember that the quality of the service is almost always proportional to the price.
I have heard countless stories of travelers who were abandoned by their guide because they did not count the number of people in their group, so always stay alert.
Is the hike to Rainbow Mountain Peru difficult?
It is considered a trip of intermediate difficulty due to the height (5,000 meters above sea level), not precisely because of the complexity of the path.
The walk itself is not long, but the ascent is constant for about 4 hours. It is advisable to be in good physical shape and have some experience in trekking.
This excursion is not recommended for people suffering from asthma, heart problems or hypertension.
If it rains, be careful, the path can get slippery. You have to walk carefully and wear hiking shoes.
I know I have said it before, but do not forget to rest in Cusco for at least two days to get used to the altitude before starting the trek.
Along the hike, you can meet local people who will offer you horses (30 to 70 soles, depending on the distance), that could definitely help.
What is the best season to visit Rainbow Mountain Peru?
The best time of year to visit Rainbow Mountain is during the months of April to August, or the dry season. Being August, is probably the best month to go.
The rainy season, November to March, is not ideal, although the rains are not constant during this period.
What to bring to the Rainbow Mountain hike?
Good hiking shoes are important!
Water (at least two liters), snacks, raincoat (during the rainy season), gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (+35), long-sleeved, practical clothing that is easy to remove as the weather changes temperature.
A walking stick is recommended.
oh! And of course, the camera!
Palcoyo: an alternative to the Rainbow Mountain
While it is true that the Rainbow Mountain is a beautiful place and also a great excursion from Cusco, there are many travelers who come to this mountain, if you do not like crowds, we can offer you some equal or better alternatives.
There is another mountain that offers the same type of landscape, which very few people talk about (at least for now): The Palccoyo Mountain.
To find out more about this mountain without tourists, read my complete guide to Palcoyo, where you will find all the practical information and advice you need to organize your visit without relying on an agency.